Honduran Community Hit by Coffee Rust Recovers with Assistance from the European Union

Honduras was one of the Central American countries most affected by coffee rust, a plague that destroyed hectors of coffee plantations and caused nationwide economic imbalance. Smallholder farmers and plantation laborers took the greatest hit, as their livelihoods slowly disappeared.

TEGUCIGALA.—“This is the most tragic thing that has happened to us, we lost everything including our dreams,” said Felipa Baquedano, one of the many Hondurans affected by the coffee rust residing in the El Paraíso Department community of Barranca de Arriba. 

However, through the implementation of an innovative modality funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), Felipa Baquedano and her neighbors restore their farms and buy food at local grocery stores to ease the financial burden many of them face to feed their families as well as pulse the local economy. 

The Future of 20 Families Changed 
Carlos Castillo, Board President of the Community of Barranca de Arriba, one of the communities benefiting from the Cash and Vouchers modality implemented by The World Food Programme (WFP) and with funding from the European Union. 

“The assistance from the European Union and WFP has changed the future of 20 families in my community, we are part of the 1,174 families receiving support in this area,” said Castillo. “Our spirits are now lifted, we had nothing, soon we would have had to leave our community to find work, but now things are different, we are ready to farm again”, he added. 

Buying Fresh and Nutritious Food 
Cash transfers are handled through banking agencies that have lists of beneficiaries that were registered as having high levels of food insecurity during a WFP field evaluation. 

These families buy food from local grocery stores, diversifying their diets and strengthen the local economy.

Cash and Vouchers Unite the Community 
“The use and implementation of cash transfers and vouchers has not only helped us to restore our farms”, assured Castillo, “we now are working together on community development projects, such as improving access roads, repairing schools, and clean-up activities.” 

“70% of the families who received assistance in my community are headed by women, this has allowed us to work alongside men, earning their respect,” emphasized Felipa Baquedano, Cash and Vouchers beneficiary and mother of seven.